Tomato Sauce is at the top of the list for our families serious eats category. Who doesn’t love a good homemade tomato pasta sauce made from fresh tomatoes? In the height of the harvest, tomato sauce is one of the largest products put up for the winter months. Second only to whole tomatoes. We go through a lot of jars per year. I have learned to streamline my sauce making skills, making this easy homemade tomato sauce recipe a quick process.
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As with any canning process, it all begins with your product. I am fortunate that I can grow organically almost all of the food we consume on our homestead. My largest crop? Tomatoes. I process hundreds of pounds of tomatoes per year.
Needless to say, I have learned to work smarter, not harder!
How? By eliminating an entire process that used to take me half the day to complete! How? By leaving the skins on and the majority of the seeds in! If you haven’t read my post “How To Prepare Tomatoes For Canning! It’s All About The Process“ you may like to take a peak so you can see what a process it can be! Not only does this save me an immense amount of time and effort, but offers an added bonus of higher nutrient content and greater volume. WIN, WIN! According to an evaluation done and listed by Science Direct it was found that:
No argument from me! Anything that saves time, effort, with a larger volume of product full of extra fiber and nutrients, I’m all in. I will say, that in my opinion, this process should only be done with organic produce that you know how and where it was grown. You don’t want any added pesticides in this sauce!
NOTE: I am the first to admit that this is not a recommended “safe” canning practice. Should you not be comfortable with leaving the skins on for this recipe, then by all means blanch your tomatoes, remove the skins and seeds and proceed with the recipe.
The first step, weigh your tomatoes and determine all the quantities needed for your ingredients. Then rinse the tomatoes and remove any debris. I lightly scrub with my favorite veggie scrubbers any areas that are not rising off easily. Core the tomato and cut out any bad spots or blemishes. Put the whole tomato, I even add all those extra cherry tomatoes to the mix, into Vitamix or high-speed blender, filling the blender 3/4 full of tomatoes. I highly recommend using a Vitamix blender as this high-speed workhorse reduces the skins and seeds to a point that when cooked blend into the tomato pulp readily. If interested in this blender, click on the Vitamix banner located on the sidebar of this post for further information! Blend until skins and seeds are fully pulverized, approximately 30-60 seconds.
Empty blended tomatoes into a large stockpot. Continue with the process of blending until all the tomatoes are liquefied and in the stockpot. I loosely go by the “Seasoned Tomato Sauce” recipe from Ball Blue Book, Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration, a must have for anyone who cans. My full recipe will be listed at the end of this post.
In another large pot, saute your onions and garlic with olive oil. Once semi-translucent, add to the pureed tomatoes, along with oregano, bay leaves, sugar, salt, and pepper. This is where I take liberties with the recipe. I tend to add much more seasoning than what is called for. I add crushed red pepper, usually, quite a bit more than the recipe calls for. Not enough to make the sauce hot and spicy, but just a bit to “lift” the flavors. I also always use brown sugar as I feel this gives the sauce a bit more depth of flavor.
Instead of dried seasonings, use fresh if you have them! I make a “bouquet” of fresh herbs usually consisting of fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley and add at least one large bundle per batch.
Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer on med-low for as long as you like. I have cut this time to about 2 hours, just enough time to let the flavors blend. I don’t bother simmering to create a thick sauce. I do that on an individual basis when I use the jarred sauces later.
Once simmering is complete proceed to can in jars and prepare for processing with your preferred method (that’s another whole post in of itself!) Water bath canning is an option when additional acid is added to each jar when making homemade sauce. OR you can alternatively steam can your sauce, a fast, efficient, and more sustainable canning method especially good when you are processing small batches.
However, I prefer to break out my beast of a pressure cooker. Several years ago I invested in an All American pressure cooker. I call it my beast for a reason. It will process 14-quart jars at a time in minutes under pressure. This cooker is not cheap, but the time, water and propane saved are well worth every penny!
Keep an eye out for my post, “How To Can In A Pressure Cooker: One Step At A Time”! Below find the recipe that I use for my sauce.
- 45 Lbs Tomatoes
- 6 Cup Onions Chopped
- 12 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 1 Bouquet Fresh Herbs Substitute 2 Tbl Oregano, 2 Tbl Basil, 1 Tbl Thyme
- 6 Leaves Bay Leave
- 1/4 Cup Salt
- 1 Tblsp Black Pepper
- 1.5 Tblsp Sugar Brown
- 3 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Or To Taste
- Wash Tomatoes; drain. Remove cores.
- Blend in Vitamix or high-speed blender until smooth.
- Pour tomato puree into a large stockpot. Repeat until all tomatoes are pureed.
- In another pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
- Add onion mixture, herbal bouquet, bay leaves, salt, pepper, sugar, and crushed red pepper to tomato puree.
- Simmer until desired thickness. Discard herbal bouquet, jar and can according to proper canning method being utilized.
Do you have a favorite tomato sauce recipe?
Love, Light, & Laughter ~